Mass Support of Journalism through Funding Stories

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Thoughts from David Cohn's Representative Journalism: Funding Beats or Stories (cross-posted from a comment left there, with a couple typos corrected).

Key point, that people don't have to believe in "journalism" to contribute to its practice through spot.us.

This will bring many more people to get involved, which will make the funding of individual stories more independent of pressure from concentrated interests than beat-covering institutions.

This is why, even for those of us who do believe in journalism, intensely, spot.us will offer a huge advantage over the fund-some-big-organization-you-trust model. Namely, it gets around the problem of there not necessarily being any big organizations we trust.

NPR and PBS are funded by government, foundations, corporations and Listeners/Viewers Like Us. They succeed very well in giving us information and entertainment that don't make us feel like our intelligence is being insulted and assaulted. Yet the coverage and content seems calibrated to not change the world.

Maybe our junior status as funders of some of the general operating costs, while the big, wealthy donors pick and choose which programs they will support, has something to do with that. Maybe spot.us will help show if this is so.

I'll let the late, great, Utah Phillips (who urged support of community radio while featured on public radio's Prarie Home Companion) have the last word on the problems of public broadcasting with his Talking NPR Blues (lyrics and MP3 at link).

benjamin